CHENNAI: THE land is brown, dry and dusty. Like Chandrasekaran, farmers here have their hopes pinned on rains. And like him, some have considered killing themselves in anguish. Chandrasekran was only one among those who succeeded.
“Few months ago, even I tried to commit suicide,” said C Samikannu, another farmer in the village. After taking seven acres of land on lease for `84,000 annually, he was not able to repay his debt when the drought hit. “It’s the humiliation at the hands of moneylenders that drives most of us to suicide,” he said.
It was the thought of his family that stopped Samikannu from taking his life. “Since then, I have limited cultivation to small areas, and started following rotational farming,” said the farmer who has always waged his bet on paddy for over 40 years. “But this time, I have planted varieties of greens and other vegetables to meet daily needs,” he said.
This limits the prospect of a good crop, but it also stems the expenses that bleed every day during cultivation period. It just does not make any sense when there is no rain. “Previously, we used to depend on rains. It was enough to fill wells to the brim, which would be more than sufficient for one yield. This year, however, we are facing shortage for drinking water. Even thinking about farming is beyond us now,” said Karuppan, another farmer from the Agaram village.
Hit by the crisis, some farmers have even given up their lease lands and started working as daily labourers. Their children have moved out to cities to make a living. Banumathi, who worked in Chandrasekaran’s farm was spotted walking on the barren land on Monday. “Not so long ago, the field was green and the yield was good,” she recalled.